Last month was a mixture of activity, positivity and success – on both a personal and professional level with accolades on the business awards front. We finally launched our latest branch, in Newcastle upon Tyne, having encountered a slight hiccup, as referenced in my previous diary entry. I decided not to rush things and I am sure this will pay dividends. Order has been restored and we have recruited a strong team for what I hope will be our flagship trade counter. Things have gotten off to a great start and patience certainly is a virtue. It was another month of celebration for me, my family and the company. I picked up two business awards at the annual BQ Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year awards, which came as a huge shock to both my wife and I, as we attended the ceremony. In addition to the North East of England award, I was proud to have been named the National Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, going up against some likeminded entrepreneurs and business owners, who are striving to grow their companies. The nomination process started back in 2016, so it was something that had been at the back of my mind, admittedly, but when I was shortlisted, it was a great honour that came as a very pleasant surprise. We also received the news that we are up for another prestigious accolade in April, which will (fingers crossed) be another reason to celebrate. Just to be nominated among household names is an incredible achievement. It is an industry-specific business awards ceremony and, in a way, the Oscars of the heating and plumbing trade. My colleagues and I will be in our element – in front of key decision-makers in the trade and standing toe-to-toe with national and international firms. So it is set to be a momentous occasion in our short history. Hopefully there will be no laughs at our expense, should we be “announced” as the winner of our category. On a serious note, these occasions always provide the perfect platform to network, whether it is a regional, national or industry event. It can be refreshing to talk to fellow entrepreneurs who are at different stages in their careers, which can help spur on ideas of your own or improve the way you do business. I was able to have some face time with the founder of Freeserve at the BQ business awards event, and it was refreshing to hear about his story and subsequent success. Even though we operate in completely different markets, it was definitely a worthwhile ten minutes or so. It just goes to show how important it is to put your name in the hat, in terms of entering business awards, as well as marketing your business – whether through PR, advertising, social media or all disciplines. As well as increasing your knowledge and potentially securing business leads while networking, you may also win an award. I have always maintained that it is essential to invest in promoting your business. You need to be in the public eye and in the eyes of your customers on multiple platforms. On the back of recent activity, including the subsequent coverage about the award wins, I was invited to appear on national television after the Spring Budget. I didn’t talk directly about my business, but it will hopefully have led to some interest and might get a few people checking out our website. The point is that I feel every business needs a voice of some sort. It doesn’t have to be in your face direct advertising – the subtlest of techniques can work just as effectively. So, it has been a strong period for Flame and our staff, who have continued to work hard and haven’t rested on their laurels. This is an essential quality to have in your workforce; always wanting to push on and achieve more. The last few months might have been a good period, but I am expecting even more successes in the rest of the year and beyond. With the launch of our latest branch and the hopes I have for it, it could well prove to be a defining month for the future of the company.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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